Traditional Tech

Instagram @himmelworks

Instagram @himmelworks

I’ve already seen the hashtag #nophotoshop popping up on my social networking feeds, with tattooers drawing a line in the sand between traditional drawing techniques and computer aided drawing. In the right hands it can be a valuable tool; Thomas Hooper used Photoshop to quickly lay out the mandala design he put on my fingers, Guy Aitchison and his ‘bio-mech collective’ participants make use of Wacom tablets and 3D modeling for laying out complicated drawings and light sources. In the wrong hands it can turn tattooing into graphic design and breed a generation of tattooists who know more about fonts and kerning than they do hand lettering.

It’s potential for abuse shouldn’t automatically mean it’s bad. Time will tell.

That has absolutely nothing to do with this 3D model of a Mike Wilson painting by his old co-worker John Himmelstein. John has been interested in computer animation/drawing since the 1990s and is bridging the gap between 2D illustration and fully three dimensional models. As 3D printing becomes more affordable, ‘studies’ like this could help artists with more realistic drawings and light sources.

It’s also pretty damn cool.

(Personal anecdote: John drew the original design for my Wilson backpiece. Mike was having a hard time conceptualizing what I wanted, so John did a quick sketch to help lay everything out. The two worked together in the early 1990s in Daytona Beach.)


All things tallied, 2011 has been a very kind year to me as far as tattooing is concerned.
This year saw the creation of OV, which has helped me be more proactive about archiving classic tattoo videos as well as being able to spotlight tattooers that I respect and hopefully encourage other people to check out their work. It’s also seen me getting tattooed more in one year than I have in the last few years combined. With a few weeks left in 2011, I’m healing up a new piece by the always impressive Chad Koeplinger. It’s just under a week old and it’s on it’s way to settling down.

I’ve been dreading the stomach; horror stories abound when it comes to stomach tattoos, from people who’re considerable more covered than I am. I went to Tattoo Paradise in D.C. prepared for the worst, calmly accepting that I was going to be in agony and that’s just how it was.

Luckily that wasn’t the case at all. This was my first time getting tattooed by Chad and it was a breeze. It hurt; of course. It’s a tattoo and all tattoos hurt. But it wasn’t agony. Conversation flowed fairly solidly, and before I knew it we were done with session one. I couldn’t have asked for a more efficient and enjoyable afternoon. Chad’s a well traveled dude and that comes with amazing anecdotes that really take your mind off the tattoo. If he comes to your neck of the woods, and there’s a pretty decent chance that he will; book some time. You’ll end up with a damn nice tattoo.

This is a little snippet of my stomach tattoo; It’s the incarnation of Christ/Krishna with Vishnu’s Panchajanya. There’s a lot going on in the design that’s not really apparent, but we put a lot of thought into it and I’m lucky to have Chad interpret my more abstract needs and turn it into something honest and awesome.